April 22, 2015, Washington, D.C. – Jason Rezaian, an Iranian American correspondent at The Washington Post, is set to be tried on four charges including espionage by the Iranian court. If convicted, Rezaian will face a sentence of 10-20 years in Iranian prison.
“Any charges of that sort would be absurd,” said Martin Baron, executive director at The Washington Post. “We are left to repeat our call on the Iranian government to release Jason and, in the meantime, we are counting on his lawyer to mount a vigorous defense.”
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) have also commented on the charges against the Washington Post reporter in a joint statement released by their offices on April 20th.
“It appears that Mr. Rezaian is being persecuted because of his profession as a reporter and his American citizenship,” reads the statement. “Freedom of press is a right that should be guaranteed to all individuals regardless of their nationality. We urge the Iranian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Rezaian.”
Rezaian’s case has also received the attention of world-renowned boxer and Muslim convert, Muhammad Ali.
“To my knowledge Jason is a man of peace and great faith, a man whose dedication and respect for the Iranian people is evident in his work,” he said in a statement issued last month. “I support his family, friends and colleagues in their efforts to obtain his release.”
Rezaian has been stationed in Iran since 2008 and was accredited by the Iranian government to work for the Washington Post in 2012. On July 24th, the Washington Post reported that Rezaian had been detained along with his wife Yeganeh Salehi. Salehi was released on bail in October.
U.S. officials, including U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, have reiterated their request for the release of Rezaian and other American citizens detained in Iran. Iranian Americans Amir Hekmati and Pastor Saeed Abedini continue to be detained in Iran.
As an organization that represents the interests of Iranian Americans, PAAIA seeks to protect Iranian Americans’ right to immunity from harassment and unlawful detention when traveling outside the United States, including Iran. PAAIA will continue to urge the United States government to make the repatriation of Jason Rezaian and all Americans who are unjustly being detained in Iran a priority.